NC Space Grant is launching the North Carolina Space Education Ambassadors (NCSEA) program to help meet two equal, nationwide needs. The first is a need to prepare pre-college students for the STEM careers of tomorrow. The second is the need to equip teacher leaders to inspire these students early. The NCSEA program will build a statewide network of master teachers who deliver NASA educational content not only to their own students, but also to their colleagues, schools and communities.
“We’re excited to build a network of K-12 teacher ambassadors who are poised to bring a NASA education to students across the state,” says Jobi Cook, associate director of NC Space Grant. “Ambassadors will deliver professional development to peers in their districts, amplifying the effect of the program. We hope this will create multiplying opportunities to inspire the next generation of explorers right here in North Carolina.”
Each year, NC Space Grant will select up to 10 current teachers from eight education districts across the state. Each cohort will commit to a one-year ambassadorship, beginning in the summer and continuing throughout their school’s academic year ending in the spring.
During their Ambassadorships, teachers will be challenged to improve their own teaching skills and the academic performance of their students by providing enriching STEM and space-themed instruction through hands-on, real-world challenges. They will work together to design space education initiatives, then will individually implement those initiatives in their respective schools, districts and communities.
The Ambassadors will collaborate with each other to identify learning objectives, share methods and develop lesson plans that align existing NASA education materials with the NC Standard Course of Study. They will also find ways to partner with local institutions to provide meaningful STEM opportunities to students.
Selected Ambassadors will have opportunities to learn directly from NASA education experts at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, and will even take a group trip to NASA Langley for their own in-person, hands-on training opportunities.